Aquinas and Aristotle

James Doig

in The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195326093
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Aquinas and Aristotle

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Aquinas followed the value for theology in Aristotelian thought that led him to undertake the composition of ‘expositions’ and sententiae respecting individual works of Aristotle. Aquinas chose Aristotle's Posterior Analytics and On Interpretation as the subjects of what medieval Masters termed ‘expositions’. Aquinas composed the first of his sententiae that concerned the De anima (In DA) in the year 1268. Aristotle's study of the soul is seen to focus on the substantial form or first intrinsic formal cause that explains both the possession of life and, remotely, the motions and activities typical of various types of living beings. Aquinas's In DA proposes that governance of the body is essential to the intellective soul's nature. Aquinas offered his sententia on the Physics (In Phy) in 1268A–1269. In Phy finds in Aristotle a general study of natural science focusing on the mobile being as the subject. Aquinas composed both the Secunda Pars of the Summa theologiae and the sententia on the Nicomachean Ethics (In NE), both treatises on morality in 1271–72. Aquinas explains in the sententia that Aristotle presents the first part of moral science as he discusses only the life of the individual human being as an agent voluntarily acting for an end through the performance of virtuous activity. The sententia on the Metaphysics (In Meta) was chronologically the last work of Aristotle which was fundamental to Aquinas's theological synthesis.

Keywords: Posterior Analytics; On Interpretation; De anima; Prima Pars; Summa theologiae

Article.  6005 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy

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